MARTIN, Tenn. – Fatodd Lewis was responsible for his fifth double-double of the season as the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team bounced Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 74-68, at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center this evening.
Lewis produced game-highs of 27 points and 12 rebounds while logging a career-best 40 minutes tonight for the Skyhawks, who improved to 5-8 on the season with their fourth win in the last five games.
Dominique Williams added 10 points in just 11 minutes off the bench for UT Martin, who led for over 35 minutes of clock time tonight. Matthew Butler (nine points, five assists), Mike Fofana (season-best eight points, five assists), Jailen Gill (eight points, seven rebounds) and Darius Thompson (career-highs of six rebounds and five assists) helped the Skyhawks shoot 52.9 percent (27-of-51) and outrebound the visiting Golden Lions by a 37-24 margin.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-14) was led by Martaveous McKnight’s 17 points. Joe’Randle Toliver and Charles Jackson added 15 and 14 points, respectively for the Golden Lions, who were held to 38.2 percent shooting (21-of-55).
“We executed both offensively and defensively at the end of the game when the game could have gone either way and that was good to see,” UT Martin head coach Anthony Stewart said. “We still have a lot of growing to do but I like this team. I like how they have held their composure during this nonconference schedule that was the hardest it’s been in my four years here. It’s been a work in progress but we aren’t a finished product yet.”
Lewis accounted for the Skyhawks’ first five points and would later add two more buckets to put UT Martin on top by a 13-7 margin seven minutes into the contest. A dunk by Gill and three-pointer by Delfincko Bogan on back-to-back trips down the floor helped the Skyhawks expand their lead out to 18-10 at the second media timeout.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff soon went on an 8-0 run to take a 24-23 advantage but that lead was short-lived as Fofana buried a jumper on UT Martin’s next possession to erase the deficit.
Another Fofana bucket with 24 seconds remaining in the first half provided the halftime score of 32-29 in favor of the Skyhawks.
Lewis had 12 points and six rebounds at the break, pacing a UT Martin attack that had 12 assists on 14 made baskets. The Golden Lions were led by McKnight’s seven points.
Terrence Parker opened the scoring in the second half with a hook shot in the paint to extend the Skyhawk lead to 34-29. UT Martin maintained its lead until Arkansas-Pine Bluff connected on trifectas on three consecutive possessions to go on top by a 41-40 margin at the 14:55 mark.
The Skyhawks answered with an 8-0 run, as Lewis buried a pair of three-pointers and Gill knocked down a mid-range jumper to make the score 48-41.
After the Golden Lions managed to get back within three points with eight minutes to play, Williams converted an old-fashioned three-point play coming out of the under-8-minute media timeout. His jumper and free throw resulted in a 58-52 UT Martin advantage.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff responded with the next four points to close within a single possession at 58-56. Butler and Thompson followed with clutch three-pointers to quickly push the Skyhawk lead out to their biggest of the night at eight points.
McKnight hit a three-pointer with 49 seconds remaining but the UT Martin trio of Lewis, Williams and Butler combined to go a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe from that point forward to ice the Skyhawk victory.
UT Martin opens Ohio Valley Conference play on Thursday, Dec. 28 when the Skyhawks host in-state rival Tennessee State. The game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network and will tip off at 6 p.m. as the backend of a doubleheader with the UT Martin women’s basketball team.